Pilot Law

Brief court decision on civil wrong


By Safi Jimba

General Principle of Liability (XIII)

This was a petition and cross-petition for divorce but the following part of the judgment of ONYEAMA J. Deals with the defence of volenti non-fit injuria:

“The case for the petitioner is that her husband was of a violent and quarrelsome nature and beat her continuously. Specific instances of violence were referred to, namely, the occasion when her husband cut her in eight places on her head with a razor blade. I hasten to add that the cuts were neither deep nor serious. After the incisions the respondent is said to have rubbed black powder into the marks. The purpose of this barbarous ritual appears to be connected wit some love juju. Another occasion was when the petitioner’s aunt came into the matrimonial home while the respondent was beating the petitioner.

The respondent denied these and other allegations of cruelty but I am satisfied that he inflicted the cuts on the petitioner’s head as alleged. I find, however, on the plaintiff’s evidence, that she consented to this pagan and superstitious nonsense because she wished to show her love for the respondent. If she suffered headaches and pains (which would not be surprising) she has herself to thank for agreeing to this juju affair. The doctrine-volenti non fit injuria – would operate to bar her complaint: Statham v. Statham ([1929] P. 131).”

To be continued next week

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